Joe Tanner
Hear Joe's Intro


BIO

MISSIONS

HONORS

PHOTOS

LINKS


STS-66
STS-82
STS-97
STS-115
Insignia from Joe's four Space Shuttle missions

 

 

JOE TANNER: ASTRONAUT

By Mike Boedicker, Audiovisual Director, Danville Public Library
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"Hallelujah!"
- Tanner's first words on his first spacewalk.


Joe Tanner has enjoyed a satisfying and high-profile career as a NASA astronaut.  Beginning as a trainer, he soon graduated to spacewalker, then repairer of the Hubble telescope, then worker on the International Space Station.  He's known around the world for his accomplishments, but nowhere does the pride run deeper than in his hometown of Danville, Illinois.


BIO

(If you live in the Danville, Illinois area, the best source for information about Joe Tanner is a clippings file maintained by the Public Library's Reference Department).

Joseph R. Tanner was born in Danville, Illinois on January 21, 1950.  His parents are Doctors L.W. and Megan Tanner, longtime physicians in Danville.  An Eagle Scout, Joe was taught to fly by his father at the Vermilion County Airport.  He graduated from Danville High School in 1968 and earned a B.S. in engineering in 1973 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was a star swimmer. 

Tanner joined the Navy after college, earning his pilot wings in 1975.  He served as an advanced jet instructor in Florida before starting at NASA in 1984 as an aerospace engineer and research pilot.  He has accumulated almost 9,000 hours in military and NASA aircraft and over 1,000 hours in space, including nearly 50 hours in space walks.

Joe lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife, Martha, and two sons, William and Matthew.

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MISSIONS

STS-66 (November 3-14,1994) -- ATLAS-3 mission, which studied the Earth's atmosphere composition and solar effects of the sun's 11-year cycle.

STS-82 (February 11-21,1997) -- Perhaps Joe Tanner's finest hour, where he serviced the Hubble Space Telescope during two space walks, helping restore it to near-perfect condition.

STS-97 (November 30-December 11, 2000) -- Fifth Space Shuttle mission dedicated to assembling the International Space Station, during which Tanner performed three space walks. 

STS-115 Atlantis (September 9-21, 2006) -- Successfully restarted assembly of the International Space Station.  Joe made two spacewalks totaling more than 13 hours.  This was Joe Tanner's final Space Shuttle mission.

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HONORS

  • Military Aviation Hall of Fame Exceptional Service Medal
  • Stuart M. Present Flight Achievement Award
  • NASA Space Flight Medal (NASA)
  • JSC Superior Achievement Award
  • Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois
  • Distinguished graduate from Navy Flight Training
  • Top 100 Graduate (University of Illinois)

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PHOTOS

Joe holding Danville city flag that flew in space.
Joe attends a luncheon in Danville, holding the city flag that orbited Earth aboard space shuttle Atlantis in November 1994. (Photo by Paul Uttermohlen, courtesy News-Gazette).

Joe floats above Earth
Joe floats above the Earth on his second spacewalk to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, February 1997. (Photo by NASA).

Joe addresses students
Addressing Danville students, May 1997.  These presentations are a priority for Tanner, and he has delivered dozens throughout the years. (Photo by Chuck Cannady, courtesy Commercial-News).

Joe speaks at Danville Public Library
Joe returned to Danville in November 2006, shortly after his final Shuttle mission.  For several busy days he spoke at local schools, libraries, museums, and other locations, and even participated in the annual "Night of Lights" parade.  Above, he addresses a crowd at Danville Public Library.  Below, he presents the Library with a special plaque commemorating his final Shuttle Mission, STS-115 Atlantis, featuring items flown on the mission.  Behind him is the Atlantis' official insignia.

Joe with plaque at Danville Public Library

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LINKS

Tanner bids farewell to space -- Joe reflects on the October 2006 flight of Atlantis, his final Space Shuttle mission.  

NASA Bio -- Details about Joe's career in the Navy and at NASA.

Helmet-Cam article -- Info about the "helmet-cams" worn by Tanner and astronaut Carlos Noriega during their construction work on the International Space Station.

Joe's first walk in space -- Text, pictures, and sound from CNN.


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  Last Update March 24, 2007

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